History, culture and social problems of Mohmand Agency.
Series: Da Aman Awaz
Program: Khpal Wattan
Topic: Mohmand Agency (FATA)
Guest # 1: Haji Muhammad Hassan (Belongs to the Mohmand Agency-Tarakzai tribe, political and social worker, tribal elder)
Field Story No1: History, culture and social problems of Mohmand Agency.
(Afzal Khan Mohmand- Mohmand Agency)
Anchor Person: Shams Mohmand
Co-Anchor Asma Ali
Shams Mohmand: Please tell us about the history of the Mohmand tribe?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: According the elders and different books of history, it is stated that Mohmand is a tribe of the Afghanistan which migrated to this area. One branch of this tribe is in Afghanistan in district Karabagh where the Mohmand tribe people are living. But as they are living in that area for a long time so now they speak the Persian language. I personally met with some doctors there who belong to Mohmandâs tribe. They said that some of the Mohmand tribe people went to Pakistan and some were living in Afghanistan.
Shams Mohmand: For how long the Mohmand tribe is living in this area of Mohmand Agency?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: According to the history, the Mohmand tribe is living in Mohmand Agency approximately from seven centuries, because they came here with Mehmood-e-Ghaznavi as his armed forces. But some Mohmand tribe was also living here at that time. There are four big tribes of Mohmand Agency and they came here collectively. âMohmand Babaâ who is the pioneer of this tribe did not come to the Pakistan as his graveyard is in Afghanistan, because there is a big graveyard near the Yakaghund. In which there is the grave and many people call that the grave of Mohmand Baba but in reality that grave is of the Masizee Baba grave. Masizee Baba was the elder of Tarakzee tribe. He was making decisions for different problems so till now people remember them in making decisions.
Shams Mohmand: You mentioned that there are four big sub tribes of the Mohmand tribe named Tarakzai, Khwaizai, Haleemzai, Baizai. But some other tribes named Utman Khel and Saafi and some other small tribes are there besides Mohmand tribe people?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: The sub branches of Saafi tribe are Qandari and Gurbaz. Utman Khel tribe also has two sub branches and one of them is living in Prang Ghar and second is living in Anbaar. Utman Khel is a big tribe so the people of this tribe are living in three Agencies. That is Malakand, Bajaour and Mohmand. It has their own tehsils in all three Agencies.
Shams Mohmand: In some areas of Mohmand Agency the people of Shinwari and Malagoori tribe are living in Saagi and Chamarkand area.
Haji Muhammad Hassan: But they are very few in number.
Asma Ali: There are many historical places and remaining of the past civilizations found in the Mohmand Agency.
Haji Muhammad Hassan: There is an area near Yaka ghund which is called Ghundai. There were so many historical places there. But due to the negligence of the government, those historical places were not protected and were demolished. Moreover in Anbaar there are many historical places, which were searched out and find out by the local people.
Asma Ali: If the government pays some attention to those historic places then how much their importance would be increased?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: Definitely the importance of this area will be increased and many tourists will come here and tourism will be promoted in this area. There is a Mosque near Yaka ghund which is of the era of Mehmood-e-Ghaznavi. That is still there in a better condition.
Shams Mohmand: Many graveyards of hundreds of years old found in the Zareef Kala area. In which some things were identified that how the people were making graves of their dead people centuries ago. Many scholars of historical places and things said that those graveyards should be protected. But the government did not pay any attention and fifteen years ago that area was flooded by a river and those graveyards were demolished by the floods.
Haji Muhammad Hassan: I would also quote another incident which I have seen by self that we were digging of the land and we found an old âShamshaan Ghaatâ where the Hindu people burn the dead bodies of dead people. We found three big drums of mud in which there was the ash of three different colors that was yellow, black and white.
Shams Mohmand: It means besides Pakhtuns many other people of other religions were also living in Mohmand Agency in the past. We have a report about Mohmand Agency.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: Mohmand Agency has a great importance because of its distinctive geographical features and history. Mohmand Agency is bordered with the Bajaur Agency to the north, Khyber Agency to the south, Malakand and Charsadda districts to the east and Peshawer district to the southeast. Its border is also associated with our neighbor country Afghanistan. Its total area is 2269 kilometers. Its population is approximately 600,000. It is divided into three subdivisions and seven tehsils. In the past its administration was done by the deputy commissioner from Peshawar. But in August 1951 it was made a separate Agency. Molvi Rasheed ud-din was the first political agent of Mohmand Agency. In 1973, Yaka ghund was made the headquarter of the Mohmand Agency. The base of the headquarters of the Mohmand Agency was specified in 1975 by the interior minister of Pakistan named Khan Abdul Qayoom Khan. According to the history, Mohmand Agency was part of Gandhara civilization some 600 years before Christ. A great Victorian Alexender the great came to this area from the western border of this Agency till Wapas area. An English historian named âW.R.Mirkâ wrote in his book âThe Mohmandâ that âFrom the very start the Khyber is called the way of the Kings and Mohmand is called the way of the civil and local peopleâ. There is a great history of the bravery of the people of Mohmand Agency. In the war of freedom the people of Mohmand Agency fought with bravery. For this the president of the Mohmand Adabi Ghunchy (Mohmand literature department) named Ghulam Hussain Mohib said;
Ghulam Hussain Mohib: In the area of Krapa and Khapakha, Emal Khan Mohmand fights against the Mughal Army. From Khyber Agency, Darya Khan Afridi supported him. Then in the British era, Taroozoo Baba came to the Mohmand Agency. He fought against the British people and armed force. His grave is there in Lakaroo area.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: Khushal Baba said that âA lot of people tie the turban on their heads, but very few deserve the respect of the turbanâ. Many notable and respectable personalities belong to this area. Whose contribution in the society is much more. Some of the notable personalities who belong to Mohmand Agency are the Chairman and founder of Peshawar Press Club named Qalandar Mohmand, The writer of eight books named Jamal Sangar, the teacher of the Charbeeta (stanza of four lines) Nazeer Mohmand, Ali Khan, Mir Rahman Mohmand and Ewaz Khan.
Ghulam Hussain Mohib: Mir Raja Sahil Mohmand was associated with literature, He wrote many books about the history and the origin of the Mohmand Tribe. Then Wazir Muhammad Gul Khan Mohmand was the minister in Afghanistan and he wrote the first dictionary of Pashto language. Abdul Haad Mohmand, the first Pakhtun and Mohmand went to the space in Russian space ship. Rahman Baba (A great Sufi poet) was also Mohmand.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: Many educated people are working for the betterment of the society. In the current situation there are 539 educational institutions in the Mohmand Agency which are educating our new generation. Among them 346 educational institutions are for males and 193 educational institutions for females. The number of male students is 40,959 and the number of female students is 21,908. The education officer of the Agency, Syed Muhammad said that the number of students is increasing day by day.
Syed Muhammad: As the population of the Agency is increased so the ratio of the students is also increased. Approximately 30 to 35% male literacy rate is increased and 17 to 25% female literacy rate is increased.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: Besides education health is also important. But the local people are not satisfied with the health facilities. There is only one agency headquarter hospital and all other health centers are facing the shortage of medicines, health facilities, and doctors. On one side Mohmand Agency is facing the problem of lack of facilities in health and education sector. But on the other side this area is rich in natural resources. These are chromite, white marble and iron minerals in a huge quantity.
For this the FSSP (Agency development officer Mehtab-ub-din) said; Agency development officer Mehtab-ub-din: In this area there is much more capacity for development. I would request to the donor agencies that they should try to make this area develop then peace will be promoted automatically.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: The local people are associated with agriculture, government sector employment, and doing jobs in different areas of Pakistan. Many people are doing jobs in foreign countries. The most popular and historic market of Mohmand Agency is Mian Monday which has a great importance in the trade of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. AT the time of Afghan revolution this market was the largest center of guns. Thousands of people are associated with Pak-Afghan trade and this market. But due to militancy this market has lost its luster and elegance.
Respondent: In the past we had our own business but now we are working as a laborer. Due to militancy the business of the people affected badly.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: The graveyard of Turangzai Baba, Naaqi Kandao, Zareef Kooroona, Munda and Warsak Dam are the popular places of Mohmand Agency. Major area of the Agency is covered by mountains. These mountains include some popular mountains like Keemor, Elazai and Salala. Salala is the peak on which many wars were conducted and those wars changed the political conditions of Pakistan. In Mohmand Agency four big tribes named Halimzai, Baizai, Khwaizai, Tarakzai are living there. There are also Utman Khel and Saafi tribe people living in Mohmand Agency. These people follow their culture and customs strictly. The customs of this area are the same of the Pakhtun culture which include Jirga, Teega, Nanawatey, Badraga and such others. But the wave of terrorism and militancy affected the customs and culture of this area badly. For this the Malik of tehsil Pandialai named Malik Musa Khan said;
Malik Musa Khan: In the past whenever the security forces were coming to this area for some activity than they were taking permission from us. But now everywhere there are armed forces which affected all of our society badly. In the past the system of our area was so good but now itâs not good.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: The local people facing the problem of water shortage in this area and this problem also affected the agriculture of this area. As only 13% area of Mohmand Agency is used for agricultural activities. This agricultural land is using water of tube wells and rain water. The wheat and maize are the major crops of this area. But the onions and tomato are also cultivated here. Many fruits gardens are here. For this Agency Agriculture Officer named Iqbal Hussain said;
Iqbal Hussain (Agency Agriculture Officer): The main problem of this area is water shortage. If this problem is solved then this could be self dependent on agriculture because the land of this area is very fertile. The solution of this problem is that government should construct Dams in this area. So the people will use the water of those Dams for agriculture.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: In August 2011, the central government gave the political freedom to the tribals in the form of âPolitical Parties Actâ. Now these people can play an important role in politics. Whether the coming election will bring some positive change in this area or not. For this a local journalist Heeran Mohmand said;
Heeran Mohmand: Only general elections could not bring any positive change in this area until the system of FCR is not finished and the local political bodies were not elected by the local people. So we have no positive hope from these elections.
Afzal Khan Mohmand: The peace is promoted in this area now days. If it is in progress then the local people will live peacefully in the near future. For this a local journalist named Gul Muhammad Mohmand said;
Gul Muhammad Mohmand: Sometimes there is some militant interference from the side of Afghan border but still there is not much militancy. The local lashkars are co-operating with the military forces. If this process of co-operation is continued then soon the peace will be promoted in this area.
(Afzal Khan Mohmand-CRSS, Mohmand Agency)
Asma Ali: As we have listened to the report that the agricultural land is only 13%. So there is shortage of water for agriculture, then tell us the situation of drinking water in Mohmand Agency?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: The main problem of Mohmand Agency is clean drinking water. Due to water shortage the 30% wells have dried up. There are no dams which will store the water. Moreover in Mohmand Agency the ratio of rain fall is very low.
Asma Ali: There is the problem of water shortage so from where the local people fulfill their needs of water?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: Till now the people who are living in mountainous areasâ stores the water of rainfall in the pool, then they utilize that water. But if we dig up the wells then the water will find there at the 450 feet below the earth surface. That water is not clean and hygienic. But people did not have any other option so they are using that water for drinking. In 1974 there was a big lake in Naaqi. From one side the donkeys were drinking water and from the other side the females were filling up their pots of water which were taken to their homes for drinking. Till now that process is continued. Because making wells is so much expensive there that local people could not afford that.
Shams Mohmand: In the government record thousands of wells were dug up and a lot of money in MNA fund, ADP, Special programmes, Senator Fund, and Prime Minister special funds were specified for digging the wells. Why the needs of the local people were not fulfilled. Whether those funds were utilized there in a better way or there was corruption in those funds?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: There is corruption in this process of making wells. But in some areas wells were dug off but the water finds very below the earth's surface so those wells are unable to provide water to the people on a regular basis and many of them were dried.
I would tell you about Warsak left bank canal that water flow started in it in 1965-66. Till 1972-73 there was sufficient water in it that till Yakaghund people were cultivating the crops of rice and sugarcane. The length of this canal is approximately 54000 feet. It was fulfilling the water needs of the major area. But people were taking water more than their need from that canal. At many places different stoppers were made by the people living near to that canal. Due to those stoppers and wastage of water now that canal did not supply water to the Yakaghund area from the last five years. The land of that area is not used for agriculture now. We complain to the irrigation department officers and other political authorities regarding this issue. But till now nothing has done to solve this problem.
Caller # 1: This is Muhammad Yousaf from Jamrud, Khyber Agency. The people who fought against Mughals were Aimal Khan Afridi and Darya Khan Afridi. Both of them were not Mohmands they were Afridis. Then you mentioned about Warsak Dam then it comes from the area where Malagoori lives and that area is of the Jamrud. Its border is with Mohmand Agency but it is in Khyber Agency. We remember our history very well. Mohmands are our tribal brothers but history should be told correct. Aimal Khan was an Afridi not Mohmand.
Shams Mohmand: You said that Aimal Khan belongs to Afridi tribe so for this we feel proud. I would say that you should read the history books and if you study the poetry of Khushal Khan Khattak then there will be no need for any further clarification and you would never do any other claims. You claimed about Aimal Khan without any solid proof. But we are saying all this because it is mentioned in history. Study the poetry of Abdul Qadir Khan Khattak and Khushal Khan Khattak. He mentioned the word Mohmand with the name of Aimal Khan in his poetry as he was the friend of him. You claim for him so for this we feel happy and proud. You also said about Warsak Dam then it is constructed in the land of Mohmand Agency and all of its employees are of the Mohmands. On one side the water of this Dam is used for irrigation of Peshawar land and on the other side it irrigates the land till Yakaghund.
Caller # 2: I am from Mohmand Agency and I would say that Aimal Khan was a great personality of Mohmand tribe.
Caller # 3: This is Irshad from Mohmand Agency. I would say that Aimal Khan and such other personalities were there in the tribal agencies in our past. So we should follow such great personalities and take them as our role models.
Shams Mohmand: We were talking about agriculture so the Mohmand Agency land is so fertile and there are so many opportunities for agriculture. But there is the problem of water shortage. In Prang Ghaar there are the crops and fruits of tomato, oranges and such others so from where they get water for irrigation and also tell us about Pandyalai area?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: The major crop of Pandyalai is the onion. Which is cultivated there and the quality of the onions of this area is so good. People use the water of wells for agriculture so government should provide assistance to them. Now days a new Dam named Munda Dam is under construction. When the construction of that Dam is completed then the water of that Dam will irrigate this whole area.
Shams Mohmand: Please tell us about the situation of agriculture in the area of Prang ghaar, Meechanai and Yakaghund?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: People have made wells for themselves and they are taking water from those wells. But unfortunately there is so much load shedding or low voltage so those wells often did not fulfill the needs of the people.
Asma Ali: In report another issue was said about health problems. So please tell us about the health facilities in Mohmand Agency?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: There are BHUs (Basic Health Units) and hospitals there. But unfortunately there is the shortage of doctors and specialists. The doctors are not there on a permanent basis as they come to the hospitals for one day in a week. So this problem should be solved.
Asma Ali: Why the doctors did not come to this area means why they avoid this area?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: Mohmand Agency is a underdeveloped area so thatâs why the doctors often try to avoid for coming to this area. Another reason is that many doctors come to their private clinics in Peshawar. So if the doctors live in Mohmand Agency and provide medication to the people of Mohmand Agency then the people of Bajaour will also come there for their treatment and it would be good for the local people.
Caller # 4: I am from Charsadda, Tangi. I would say that if the Munda Dam and such other Dams were constructed then it would be beneficial for all people. That its water would be used for irrigation, I will help us to prevent flooding, and we can make more electricity from such Dams.
Caller # 5: This is Muhammad Ayub from Mohmand Agency. I live near the Salala peak, where many wars were fought. There are four vast inhabitant fields in Mohmand Agency. One is Bahai, Qandaroo, Shalai and Sarkot. The other three inhabitant fields are far away but the Bahai is near us. If the Bahai could be used for agriculture and water is supplied to this area. Then it will fulfill the needs of fruits and vegetables of all of our area.
Shams Mohmand: There is an acute water scarcity in Mohmand Agency. There is only one way by which the water could be supplied to the Bahai. That many local people are demanding that a canal should be made and the water flow should be started there from the river. But that would be very costly. Our ex. Governor, Mian Iftikhar Hussain Shah ordered for a survey there but that was costly so that was not conducted there. If our senators and ministers make a solid decision to solve the problem of water shortage then it is not impossible for them.
Shams Mohmand: In the recent past there was a problem of insecurity and militancy. So what specific role is played by the local people, Aman committees and security forces for peace promotion?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: Now the situation is better because the local people co-operate with the government. As in Anbaar and such other areas some steps were taken by them. All the tribal areas suffered a lot and now the situation is better.
Shams Mohmand: When there was militancy then the developmental activities were affected from them badly. So what is the current condition of the developmental activities in Mohmand Agency?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: Now days different roads toward such areas were constructed where there are minerals in the last three years. So the supply of the minerals to the other areas became easy. Other roads are also under construction. Moreover in health and education sector there is so much construction in progress. So in the near future our area is becoming developed.
Asma Ali: The female education ratio in Mohmand Agency is increased from 17% to 25% and the maleâs education ratio is increased from 30% to 35%. So the education ratio in this area is high as compared to other tribal agencies?
Shams Mohmand: These figures about education are the current figures and in other agencies the figures of education are used of the survey of 1998. So in new figures education ratio is also increased in other agencies. So we should also try to improve the quality of education.
Shams Mohmand: In Mohmand Agency the ratio of education is growing but still a lot of people are uneducated and unemployed, so what should be done for peace promotion and development?
Haji Muhammad Hassan: Local people are co-operating with government and government is also paying attention to this area. But in the areas of far away there are no or less educational facilities. Moreover the quality of education is also low. So government should facilitate the teachers of those areas that they will teach their students in a better way.
Shams Mohmand: If the teachers and doctors of the area were facilitated by the government then the situation of the health and education sector will be improved. It is the responsibility of the government to provide the facilities of health and education then this area would be developed and progressive. Peace would also be promoted in this area. Last year in 13th August many political improvements were made in the FCR. So it will leads to the political awareness of the FATA people. Moreover on this 14th August 2012, President Asif Ali Zardari announced that in FATA there will be general elections in the coming year. All the tribal people are waiting for those elections because all of them want such system of political administration. It may lead our society towards progress. Stay Blessed. Good Bye.